The effects of juvenile transfer to criminal court on incarceration decisions

Benjamin Steiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Juvenile waiver laws allow youthful defendants who have not reached the age of adulthood to be transferred out of the juvenile court and into adult criminal court where they are subject to prosecution as if they were an adult. Using data collected from 37 urban counties, this study expands on a recent study by Kurlychek and Johnson (2004) by comparing the pretrial detention and imprisonment outcomes of juveniles transferred to criminal court to those received by adult defendants 29 years of age or younger. This study also examines the potential effects of county context on incarceration rates of the county court communities. Findings revealed that transferred juveniles are disadvantaged at sentencing stage, and that incarceration decisions regarding young defendants are shaped by the context of the county in which they are processed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-106
Number of pages30
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Court community
  • Juvenile
  • Legal decision
  • Transfer
  • Waiver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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